Confessions of a cough hating Mama

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I know I’m not the perfect Mother, I’m actually far from it. I feed my children dinner, sometimes, on the floor, right in front of the TV so they can keep watching whatever they are watching and stay quiet. I’ll even put down a tea towel to contain the mess, because I’m lazy and I don’t want to have to clean it up later. I’ll sometimes not bath them, because they are too tired and I can’t be bothered. I hide lolly bags given to them at Birthday parties and then eat them all to myself, as I hide in the pantry from them. I lie to them. Often. Because I can.

It’s like payment. For all the wiped bottoms, picking chunks of vomit out of sheets, dealing with fights every bloody time I brush or wash their hair, putting out fights every 3.4 seconds between them, picking stuff up from the car floor for the 456th time whilst driving, listening to Fairies songs and having to endure Nathan from High Five on constant DVD repeat. It’s a tough gig at times – no doubts about it.

Of course there are the amazing bits, don’t get me wrong! The beautiful offerings of artwork, or flowers presented to me throughout the day. The cuddles and pure, simple love that asks for nothing. No conditions. Just love. Although the conditions and hours can be long and tiring, and don’t get me started on the terrible pay, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But. There’s always a but isn’t there?

Of ALL the parts, the one thing that breaks my spirit , the very one thing that drives me absolutely CRAY CRAY crazy and sucks me of my parenting will to live, my kryptonite, if you will…is my child’s cough. Any one of them. Any cough – dry, chesty, tickly, and worst of all of the coughs…the dreaded cough vomit – but a cough will see me raveled undone. See? I told you I was terrible. How can something as simple as a common cough do all that? Here’s how:

I first learnt of this condition early on when Daisy caught her first proper toddler cold from daycare. Thanks Daycare! I was initially caring and loving. A veritable Florence Nightingale tending to her every need and desire at just the right moments. A wet washer to bring down a fever. A rubbing of a back. A wiping of a nose. A gentle and loving stroke of a cheek. I was a model parent! Until….she coughed. Which was fine. And then 5.2 seconds later, she coughed again. The poor poppet – seemed to have a little cough, until she coughed again. And then AGAIN. AND THEN AGAIN. It sent me crackers. After 35 minutes I may or may not have begged her to stop. After an hour of waiting for her sleep but being unable to because of said 3.4 second cough I may or may not have SCREECHED at her to “STOP COUGHING ALREADY!” And there wasn’t anything really wrong with her, just a little cough, a tickle and yet the constant stream of coughs? Well, they all made up to one frazzled Mama. Of course I felt terrible and guilty and all those things, but a constant cough will do that to an overtired working Mother. It just will.

My second born is lucky enough to be blessed with some serious gag reflexes. Some of you out there will know of the condition whereby your child will cough, and that cough will lead to a vomit. It’s the classic cough/vomit scenario. And this? Well, this undoes me even sooner than the dry 3.4 second cough that my first born delivers me with. It’s like a train wreck. You can’t stop watching, you know what’s coming, and it sends you into a spin as you try and catch that vomit in the best way you can. It’s never pretty. NEVER. And it adds another dimension to a regular cold that it just UNCALLED FOR. Enough already.

Are you like this? Tell me I’m not alone. Tell me I’m not THAT bad. Do you find coughs just as irritating? Do you have a cough vomiter in your house? I feel for you. I really do.

Now for some fun. Share with me your best “Cough Catastrophe” story in the comments below – a particularly bad cough/vomit, an irritating dry cough or a tickle that was SO not funny for a chance to win one of four $50 iTunes vouchers!

For more information about Bisolvon products visit www.bisolvon.com.au or speak with your local pharmacist, doctor or nurse practitioner. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.

Terms and Conditions
Giveaway open to Australian residents only Employees or family of the Promoter are not eligible to enter Entries close October 8th 2012 winners will be selected on the strength of their answers (game of skill) and no correspondence will be entered into Winners will be notified by email. Winners will be notified by email and announced on www.Baby-mac.com Your entries may be shared via the Baby Mac and I hate people coughing on my head Facebook pages Any entries posted by the Promoter to Facebook will be accompanied by the first name you use to post your comment.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15304535583168822160 Makeminemidcentury

    When I had my first child, my husband worked 1200kms away. I laboured for hours before he was able to leave work and drive to the hospital to see me and the baby. By that stage, I was pretty cranky at his not being at the birth of his first child etc, so he promised to jump in the care ASAP and drive 1200kms without stopping. But, he had to bring our two poodles as no one could watch them while he was away.

    Anyway, as soon as he hit the highway, one of the poodles started coughing in the back seat and then violently threw up all over the car’s gear stick.

    He had to keeping driving regardless, changing gears with his hand in the muck and in the confines of a small hatchback with two stinking dogs or face my wrath for delaying his journey. That’s my cough/vomit story.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      Good practice for Fatherhood I think and just punishment! Dog vomit…eeeeew!

  • http://allconsuming.com.au/ kim at allconsuming

    I, blessedly, do not have a cough vomiter. My SIL has a cough vomiter who also gets carsick if in the car for longer than 10 minutes. Seriously, the amount of vomit that poor woman has dealt with in her lifetime is borderline criminal.

    I do, however, have a whistler. Not of any particular tune, just random vagrant whistling. So, you know, I win.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      Yes you do. I would NOT cope with that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07418449442953621377 SarDri

    Oh do we ever have a “cough vomiter” in our household. Our 2 year old boy has that one down!

    We’ve faced head on (literally) many a cough vomit from him, leaving at least one of us showering down post the performance.
    Our peak was.. thanks to daycare… he caught a hideous stomach bug. HIDEOUS! We woke one night to the oh so familiar cough before the storm. My husband and I witnessed so much coughing & vomiting on repeat, we seriously discussed passing this one over to the ambos??

    Instead my husband raced him into Emergency, where upon sight of the situation, the seas parted from other patrons waiting to be seen and nurses literally ran to my husband, scooping cough vomit son out of husbands arms to take it from there. Thankyou dear nurses!

    The next morning he was discharged from hospital, and with him he bought back a gift for us. He passed that stomach bug round the household like nobodys business, and my husband and I, and our 3 year old daughter all got a taste of what the ‘cough vomit’ feels like EXACTLY.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      It’s like the gift, that keeps on giving. Oh dear…you poor things!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18277989674194408920 Linda Jenkins

    Test

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02512695703223497990 Bree

    Yep I’ve got one of each. Our son coughs every 3 seconds. I have both yelled at him to stop and also just given up and gone back to bed. Our 9 month old daughter is a cough vomiter and she can projectile like there is no tomorrow. Once straight after her dinner she managed to cover the entire living room. And then 2 nights running she vomited on me at 3am whilst I was breastfeeding her. Nothing like trying to redress a grumpy baby whilst standing in the nude having stripped off your vomit covered PJs. In winter!!! And then of course trying to find yourself something else to wear in the dark.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00302878169150994969 Claire

    I was sitting in church (a pretty full Sunday morning service) with my husband and three children when my 2 year old climbed up on my lap for a cuddle. All of a sudden the cough vomit was happening with vomit everywhere! And no sign of stopping!! Initially I was catching it in my cardigan (which I was still wearing at the time!) when husband realized what was happening and used the baby blanket at reinforcements. The couple sitting behind us were horrified. We soon cleaned up a best as we could and got out of there. My parents who were sitting in the pew in front of us had no idea and were puzzled as to why we were suddenly leaving.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08868811817844647949 Rinny

    Reading this made me feel so much better. I kid you not, the thing…that makes me cringe with guilt about the childhood of my now married sons, is sitting on the loo screaming like a lunatic, because the coughing was literally sending me around the twist. We had a small house with the bedrooms right next to each other and there was no where to escape from the torture.

    I think you just freed some of that stupid guilt from me with your story Beth. Don’t worry, there’s plenty left though.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      You are NOT alone. I’m sure we’re not the only ones either!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16483975077509536637 Angels have Red Hair

    We don’t have a cough vomiter….thank goodness…I’m sure I couldn’t cope!

    But I do recall a very long and tortuous road trip from Sydney to Melbourne where my son was chucking up every few kilometres.

    You can imagine (or perhaps you can’t) the smell in that confined space by the time we finally reached our destination. You can only clean up so much on the side of the highway.

    I’m heaving at the memory!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I dont’t know if I want to relive this story by writing about it as I have tried to blocked it out, but here it goes.

    When my son was 2 and a half his sister was born, it was a beautiful time in all our lives….for about 5 weeks. Then he developed this cough. It started off as a tickle and then got worse and worse very quickly. So here was my husband and I very sleep deprived trying to get use to there being four of us instead of three and here is my son, vomiting everywhere ALL THE TIME! In shops, in front of the TV, all over his dinner, but the worst was his bed, with the sheets being changed like six times a night.

    We took him to the doctors that many times and they said it was just a little cough! Finally we got a doctor who listened. Late one night a man from a lab called us, he said he wasn’t meant to call us directly but because of our sons age he thought we might have another baby at home, which we did. He had Whopping Cough! OMG, it was such an awful, awful time.

    Although he had had all his injections the batch of the whopping cough injection had failed and a lot of people in the area had the same problem. Thanks very much!

    We all survived and he SLOWLY got better and thank God my daughter didn’t catch it.

    I am so glad my kids are older now and I can just yell at them to STOP COUGHING, without hurting their feelings….lol.

    Sue N

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      Oh Sue…you poor thing! Just what you needed after all that…some Mother guilt thrown in for good measure!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11614160970554625159 Margaret

    Oh Beth! I feel we live parallel lives. I too have two little girls (and I think we went to the same primary school, with Mrs Weston as principal. I even think my younger brother went to a birthday party for your sister at your house, dressed as a girl!) Anyway… here is my cough story. Elly (3 years) has been sick with a tummy bug all week. Fevers on and off, generally unwell and miserable to boot. Sitting beside me in the early hours of the next morning, she did what we call a ‘tootie’.I looked down at her, raised my eyebrows and said, ‘What was that!?!?’
    ‘Don’t worry Mummy, that was just the fire in my bottom’ was her rather disturbing reply!
    Within about 15 minutes she was moaning about a sore tummy. Then she coughed (No!) and proceeded to throw up, all the way down the hallway, as she ran to the bathroom.
    Curiously, ‘Elly vomiting’ became the theme of all my other daughter’s drawings for the day. I too, love the beautiful artwork that is created for me each day, but could definitely do without a collage of vomit!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      Small world! On both accounts. They are always so proud when they are done aren’t they?!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17403585622248576430 April @ Composed by April

    My daughter is only 15 months old, however she has perfected the cough vomit skill with precision. It is never a cough vomit on the tiles, always the carpet. Never outside where the dog could lick it up (Parent of the year I am not).

    The lowest point was a few months back when she had croup, and would cough and vomit through her cot, out the cot, on to the carpet, and onto the wall 3 metres away. How one gets vomit that far is beyond me.

    If that wasn’t bad enough she did it numerous times in a night, where we went through 6 sets of sheets. The last two sets of “sheets” ended up being towels, as I didn’t own that many sheets. Nor did I own that many matress protectors. Needless to say the dog got a new bed not long after that incident stopped, and Eliza got a new mattress that didn’t smell like spew.

    God I can’t wait for the day she turns two so that I can give her cough mixture!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10083312031375272996 Stephanie

    I took my darling little cough- vomiter to the shopping centre for an ice-cream. Chocolate flavoured. Coming back down the escalators she started coughing, and coughing, and you can guess where this is headed…just as we got off at the bottom she cough vomited a sea of brown. The only thing I had to wipe it up with was a clean nappy from my handbag. So there I was with people pushing past me as they tried to get off the escalator, looking at me holding a nappy full of brown goo, assuming that it was something a lot worse. My own gag reflex was definitely tested that day!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      Oh Stephanie! I know your pain well. It’s a glamorous business isn’t it?!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04324917828815299886 Jan

    Back in the olden days, Coles and Woolies variety stores had long counters with a space in the middle for shop assistants to serve each counter.

    I was shopping with my mum who was holding my firstborn, a boy who threw up after every feed for months. He was by this stage about nine months old and seemed to have grown out of that habit. MUm was holding him and bent over the display of sheets. Up came every feed for the last ten feeds at least, all over the sheets. No warning at all.

    We were so embarrassed. Assistant was an older lady , a grandmother herself, who scooped everything up, gave us a clean new pillowslip to wipe the baby and assured us all was well.

    My youngest son, now in early 30s, was the last to catch whooping cough in his family. It followed one of my grandchildren home from school. That was seven months ago. Fortunately he did not usually get the cough/vomit reaction much. He is still coughing and it sounds disgusting even though it’s better than it was. Doctor told him last week that it might perhaps be gone by Christmas now it’s spring. All had had needles etc. Effect wears off in about 10-15 years, so most adults are vulnerable.

  • Shannon

    Both my boys had whooping cough,my youngest when he was just a little baby.
    Anyway since then my youngest has a nighttime cough every 2 weeks or so that lasts about a week and he sleeps with me and may I tell you-it’s a nightmare!
    Every 2 hours during his coughing bouts he coughs every 2 seconds usually right in my face and I have on more than one occasion yelled out ‘Stop it!’ (amongst other things).

    I found a hint on the net though that works reeeeeally well-cover the soles of their feet with Vicks (I just use the cheapo one) and then put a pair of socks on and voila! If it doesn’t stop the cough altogether it greatly reduces the frequency.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      I know that trick well Shannon. I don’t know if it works, but I sure as hell give it (and ANYTHING) as red hot go! I’ve also heard that a cut onion (left near their bed) works…but I haven’t done that yet.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12990291136950944218 The Baker Family

    I have a 5 year old cough/vomit pro. The stories are so many that I can not choose just one but, given her extensive experience she has graduated to independant cough/vomit status.

    When she feels it coming she gets up, gets to the bathroom and holds her own hair back, in the car she has a bag stashed in the door and is happy to look after it all until it is safe to stop.

    After a big night on the vodka and watching my following illness and hangover she proudly reported that she would be great at drinking when she grows up as she is very ‘neat’ at being sick. We are so proud.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      Oh I would be too! Harper is getting better at it too. She now runs to the toilet when she knows it’s coming. She’ll get there in the end I hope. I LOVE this!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06044161376528094256 Lisa @ Blithe Moments

    I broke a rib – coughing. Yup, it is possible. I was lying in bed, curled on my side with one of those dry hacking coughs and after a particularly big cough was in such pain. I thought I had torn some of the connective tissue, my chiro and doctor thought it was a rib, but as I was about to go on holiday and you can’t do much about it, I refused to have an x-ray.

    Fast forward a few weeks, I’m on the cruise, walking along holding a cocktail when I slip on a wet bit of deck. I do one of those amazing juggling acts and manage to not fall – but re-break my rib in the process. For the rest of the trip I was in constant pain, I remember one occasion telling my friends I just wanted to lie on the beach a bit longer because I couldn’t get up at that point.

    When I got back I had the x-ray, still expecting it to show nothing, but it clearly showed my broken rib that had clearly started to heal then been re-broken. Doh! I laugh about it now but it was hideous at the time.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      Lisa! How dramatic!

  • Reen

    Yes, I too have a cough vomiter. My almost 4 year old has such sensitive gag reflexes that it really doesn’t take much to make him vomit. I dread colds and coughs for that very reason that then I have to deal with VOMIT on top of snotty noses and grumpiness.

    So my worst cough/vomit story?

    It was following a Christmas holiday at my in-laws. We were on our way home, my husband driving in front of me, me following behind. 3 year old and 9 month old in the car. Dusk. All going well and then that cough. And then that vomit. All over himself, the car seat. I panic and pull off the road, down a dirt track, as my husband, oblivious, keeps driving on. I get my son out of the car in the ever decreasing light, stripping him of his vomit sodden clothes and shoes; poor kid is shivering (yes it may have been Summer, but it was cold!) and standing in bare feet on the ground, possibly in his own vomit that has dripped to the ground off his clothes.

    Me internally cursing my husband for NOT looking in his rear view mirror and realising that we have a situation here, people, and that I have no clean clothes to put on my cold, shivering son and now my 9 month old has started squawking because the car has stopped and she’s woken up. Plus I was parked slap bang in the middle of this dirt road so was IN THE WAY of cars. So there I am with a near naked, slightly vomit stained crying child , and another one in the car howling, and me apologising to cars trying to pass me as I clean up the mess.

    Choice.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      I know that scenario. Well. Taking other kids clothes off them to help the naked, hysterical vomiter. All of it. I wish I didn’t!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07798113319884937529 Margie

    My coughing terror story if fresh from this morning.

    My 4 year old woke at 5.10am coughing and coughing it sounded like a potential cough vomit so bless my husband he got up and sorted him out.
    I managed to stay in bed until 6am when the coughing was too annoying for me to bear any longer.

    Now my son really needs 12 hours sleep or he can be beyond feral. So on less than enough sleep we went to the park and my son annoyed everyone.
    I packed us up and said we were going. Sooooooo muuuccchhhh screaming and screaming. He screamed ALL the way home on his bike (1.6km). I sent him straight to his room so I could cool off and lower my blood pressure……
    He passed for a lovely hours sleep on the hallway floor outside his bedroom.
    Rotten early morning cough.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      Mine is fresh too…Daisy has come down with a cough and cold as punishment for me writing about it today! I didn’t get a daytime sleep though. Here’s to a better night/morning tomorrow!

  • http://ohsewrosy.wordpress.com/ ohsewrosy

    Love this post Beth. I couldn’t agree more. I can handle any of my kids’ illnesses. Except for the dreaded constant, friggin tear-your-hair-out cough. I’ve said the same thing for years too. Amy x

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17317677066408030053 Faux Fuchsia

    Coughing doesn’t bother Me.

    It’s the Conjunctivitis that really hurts my heart.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10167866720561094379 Sew Brunswick

    Beth, I feel your pain. My curtains are still stained with the splashes of my first born who used to start coughing when put to bed as a baby and this always resulted in projectile vomits. We used to bolt down the hallway at the first sound of a cough.

    But, the paediatric pharmacist in me has to inform you and all your readers that as of August all cough & cold medicines in Australia should not be given to children under 6 years of age. This was increased from the previously recommended 2 years due to lack of evidence to support their benefit and evidence to suggest they may actually be harmful to children under 6 years.

  • Anonymous

    Thank god I am not the only cough hating mama!! It drives me mad. Harry last night coughed for an hour, the dry cough suppressant did bugger all so out came the Pain Stop. 5 mins later he was sound asleep and ended up being late for childcare as the medicine hadn’t worn off! Michelle

  • Deb xoxo

    Coughs scare the living daylights out of me and yet with that knowledge I’ve still been heard to shout “Jesus Jamie give it a rest”, that’s if its coming from the left handside bedroom, if its coming from the right, then I have the bucket, mop, clean sheets and strong coffee on hand – because he’s a follow through, and as tough as cleaning up vomit is its easier than the scary cough. Scary coughs nine times out of ten leads to long stays in hospital and usually adds to my grey hair collection. I have a daughter that goes from healthy to pneumonia and collapsed lungs without all the usual symptoms and as quickly as healthy today to ill in half an hour. I hate Winter with a passion thanks to this. So your not alone the cough is a shit!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02005492484650666091 BabyMac

      Hi Deb! You were chosen as a winner for one of the iTunes vouchers…can you email me your address? Thanks & congrats!

  • http://leoniecooks.com.au/ Leonie

    I have the cough vomitor and the constant asthma coughers but right now I am a 37 year old mother of two with pneumonia and influenza and I have become the cough wee’er…. Yep pissing my fucking pants!!!! I win!!!! Omg it’s not good not good at all! Leonie

  • Christine

    Yes, another cough-hating mother here also. I am known to avoid supermarket aisles entirely If I can identify a nasty cough coming through the shelves. I’ll hold my breath if some inconsiderate person coughs near me and if I’m unlucky enough to be standing in some Medicare/bank/post office queue and there is a cougher behind me I’ll shallow breathe, through my mouth until I can get the hell out of there!!

    I’m not really sure when my pure hate for another persons coughing developed but since having kids I have been faced with other (small) people’s coughs on a much more personal level. We have just recently all been ill and the nasty dry tickly cough hung around for quite a while. I was heard on many occasions yelling “will you just stop coughing, do you really need to cough so hard or are you doing it so I’ll think you’re more sick than I really think you are” Yes, delightful, I know.

    But probably my worst moment was earlier this year when my 8yo son developed an annoying coughing habit well after the cold was gone. I eventually took him to the Dr where to my dismay after a blood test discovered that the poor darling had Pertussis (whooping cough). Yes also known as the 100 DAY COUGH I was told!!!! He was vaccinated and still got it, a mild dose thankfully :)